U.S. says it will ‘always have Australia’s back’ after Chinese ambassador threatened to boycott Aussie products over push for coronavirus inquiry
- Bipartisan group of U.S. Congress members sent a letter of support to Australia
- The letter pledges support for Morrison’s push for inquiry into COVID-19 origins
- U.S. lawmakers have condemned China’s economic threats against Australia
- American lawmakers said the U.S. will ‘always stand with our Australian mates’
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Members on all sides of the U.S. Congress have sent a letter to the Australian ambassador outlining their support for Scott Morrison’s push for an independent international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus.
Bipartisanship in American politics is rare on any issue, but when it comes to the relationship with Australia, both Republicans and Democrats say the U.S. ‘will always have Australia’s back’.
‘As Australia, along with the rest of the world, deals with the terrible human and economic consequences of COVID-19, we write to reaffirm our strong support for the U.S.-Australia alliance,’ the letter to Arthur Sinodinos read.
‘For more than a century, our nations have stood side by side during moments of great peril. The current crisis is no different.’
American President Donald Trump (left) is pictured with Australia’s U.S. Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos (right) in the Oval Office of the White House
The letter of support comes as tensions between Australian and China have reached boiling point.
About two weeks ago Prime Minister Scott Morrison ruffled the Chinese Communist Party by suggesting an independent inquiry should be held into the origins of the coronavirus.
With the pandemic now infecting over 4million people across the globe and killing over 280,000, Mr Morrison said now is the time to ‘have an independent assessment of how this all occurred so we can learn the lessons and prevent it from happening again’.
But the suggestion that independent investigators should be given access to the city of Wuhan where the pandemic began was not received well by China’s authoritarian regime, which is accused of trying to cover-up the outbreak.
Immediately after these comments, China’s Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye told the Australian Financial Review Australian producers would face a backlash if such an inquiry were to take place and threatened that Australian beef and wine would be off the menu for Chinese consumers.
China’s Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye recently threatened Australia producers after Scott Morrison stated there should be an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus in Wuhan
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (left) is pictured with U.S. President Donald Trump (right) in the American State of Ohio on September 22, 2019
The members of the U.S. Congress adressed the threats in their letter to Mr Sinodinos.
‘This incident is part of a broader and concerning pattern from the Chinese government,’ the letter said.
‘As we continue to confront this deadly disease and its consequences, we will be faced with many tough decisions, including those that may arise from the Chinese government’s continued lack of cooperation and transparency.
‘One decision that is not difficult is to always stand with our Australian mates.
‘No matter the external pressure or coercion, we will always have Australia’s back, just as Australia has always had ours.’
But not everyone agrees with Mr Morrison’s handling of the push for an independent inquiry.
‘It was an announcement made without locking in support from other nations,’ Australian Labor Party Senator Penny Wong told ABC News.
‘I don’t think the Government has explained its position very well. I think since the Foreign Minister announced it, she’s only done one interview. That’s not exactly explaining this issue to Australians.
‘We need to think about the China relationship in 30-year terms, not in three-year terms. Unfortunately, there’s been a little too much, from the Morrison Government, of reflex to short-term domestic politics on this relationship.’
Bipartisanship in American politics is rare on any issue, but when it comes to the relationship with Australia, both Republicans and Democrats say the U.S. ‘will always have Australia’s back’
The letter of support was signed by U.S. Congress members on all sides of politics